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Medical Care: Dental
Journal Artice: Civil Liability for
Inadequate Prisoner Medical Care, 2007 (9) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil
Liability for Inadequate Prisoner Dental Care, 2009 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
A prisoner’s claim in his civil rights lawsuit that a prison dentist
intentionally sutured his gum without removing pieces of a broken drill bit
after extracting a wisdom tooth violating his Eighth Amendment rights was
sufficient to survive initial screening under 28 U.S.C. 1915A. The prisoner
alleged that he suffered pain for approximately two weeks before the shards
from the broken drill bit were finally removed. Echols v. Craig, #14-1829, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 7957 (7th Cir.).
Illinois prisoner complained that the prison’s dentist had refused to
send him to an outside dentist to extract a decayed tooth that was causing him
pain, and that the contractor serving the medical needs of the facility had a
policy of withholding medical care to save money. While the prison dentist had
assured him that his mouth could be successfully numbed, the prisoner refused
to let her pull the tooth and complained to the contractor that he was
suffering needlessly because of its refusal to provide him with access to
outside treatment. Later, he agreed to let a different prison dentist pull the
tooth with a local anesthetic used during the extraction, but he
complained that the extraction had been painful. Summary judgment was
granted for the defendants. A federal appeals court reasoned that the alleged
events did not reflect deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, but
the exercise of medical judgment. Lake v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., #15-2360, 2017
U.S. App. Lexis 2685 (7th Cir.).
An Iowa inmate claimed
that a correctional director and a doctor were deliberately indifferent to his
need for dentures. Assuming, for purposes of appeal, that the prisoner had an
objectively serious medical need for the dentures, a federal appeals court
ruled that the plaintiff had failed to establish that either defendant deliberately
disregarded this need. Undisputed evidence showed that the delay in providing
the dentures was caused by a turnover or shortage of dentists in the prison.
Neither defendant caused that shortage nor the general issues that interfered
with dentist recruitment and retention. Cullor v. Baldwin, #14-3723, 2016 U.S.
App. Lexis 13867 (8th Cir.).
Current and former
detainees at a county jail claimed that the level of dental care there amounted
to deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendments. The jail's subsequent implementation of a consent
order in unrelated litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice eliminated a
common question concerning inadequate staffing and brought care into compliance
with national standards. A federal appeals court upheld decertification of the
classes because of the lack of a common issue of fact or law. The plaintiffs
could not now point to the type of "systematic and gross deficiency"
that could support a finding that all detainees were effectively denied
adequate dental treatment or that a specific policy directly caused delay, or
that there was a "pattern of egregious delays" across the entire
class. Phillips v. Sheriff of Cook County, #15-1616, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12441
A county's deputies and nurse were not entitled
to qualified immunity on a detainee's Fourteenth Amendment claim for deliberate
indifference to his severe pain from dental surgery. He alleged that they were
aware of the severe pain and yet failed to give him his prescribed pain
medication. His right to receive the medication under the circumstances was
clearly established. Dadd v. Anoka County, #15-2482, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12031
An Illinois prisoner claimed that it was 6 days
after he complained of a tooth abscess that a dentist diagnosed an abscessed
molar, prescribed penicillin, and extracted the tooth. A federal appeals court
found that the evidence presented of possible deliberate indifference of a
prison guard and the dentist to the plaintiff's serious medical needs barred
granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Dobbey v.
Mitchell-Lawshea, #14-2772, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 20427 (7th Cir.).
civilly committed sex offender sued, claiming that a doctor and a nurse denied
him essential dental care by requiring him to pay for partial dentures. He
claimed that he was unable to properly chew food because he had many teeth
pulled while in custody, suffered from acid reflux, and became diabetic. A federal
appeals court held that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. He
received regular dental treatment, dentures were never prescribed as medically
necessary, he had gained weight and received sufficient calories, and his
discomfort did not reach the level of pain. He did not request a soft diet, and
the defendants maintained that he had the funds to pay for the partial dentures
if he wanted. Mead v. Palmer, #14-1680, 794 F.3d 932 (8th Cir. 2015).
A prisoner allegedly approached a sergeant and
told him that his cellmate of one week had twice swung at him, that he wasn't
taking his medication, and that he was hearing voices telling him to attack
people. Accordingly, the prisoner asked that his cellmate be moved. The
sergeant instructed another officer to try to make sure that the cellmate took
his mediation. He also asked other officers about the cellmate, but none
indicated knowing of any problems with him. The next evening, the cellmate
attacked the prisoner, damaging one of his teeth. A nurse recommended that the
tooth be removed, but the prisoner did not see a dentist for approximately a
month. Summary judgment for the defendants was upheld, with the appeals court
finding no evidence that the sergeant was subjectively aware that the cellmate
was dangerous or that staff members failed to act promptly once they were aware
of the prisoner's serious medical needs. The prisoner never filled out the
proper request to see a dentist or indicated that he had a medical emergency.
Olson v. Morgan, #12-2786, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 8188 (7th Cir.).
A detainee who agreed to civil commitment as a
sexually violent person was seen by a dentist who found 12 cavities in his
teeth. They got worse and he experienced pain, but no follow-up appointment
occurred. Treatment was greatly delayed, with no treatment for over a year and
with two of the teeth not being worked on for 5 years. A federal appeals court
found that these allegations adequately stated a claim for violation of the
detainee's rights. Claims could be pursued against a dental hygienist who
discouraged him from being a "pest" by insisting on an appointment,
and against a dentist who allegedly prescribed pain medication that she knew
the plaintiff could not take, as well as against a medical doctor who was
allegedly aware of the problem but took no action, Smego v. Mitchell, #11-2897,
2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14619 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner was awarded $1,500 in compensatory and
punitive damages against a prison employee in a lawsuit over alleged interference
with his needed dental treatment. After the prisoner successfully defended the
judgment on appeal, he moved for an award of $16,800 in attorneys' fees. The
employee claimed that he only should have to pay, at most, attorneys' fees of
up to 150% of the amount of damages awarded (or $2,250), because of a cap on
attorneys' fees in the Prison Litigation Reform Act. A federal appeals court
rejected this argument, holding that the cap only applies to fees awarded for
obtaining the award in the trial court and did not limit the amount of fees
that could be awarded after successfully defending such a judgment on appeal.
Further proceedings will determine the exact amount of fees to be awarded, but
the cap will not apply to the fees for work done on the appeal. Woods v. Carey,
#09-16113, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14430 (9th Cir.).
The Supreme Court of Hawaii rejected a request
that prison authorities be ordered to approve a prisoner's requests for dental
treatment, a root canal operation, teeth cleaning, repair of a cavity, and
medical treatment for cancer and a concussion. The prisoner failed to show that
the defendants were failing to respond to his requests, and there was evidence
that he was provided with both medical and dental treatment, and advised of his
option to seek outside care for services the state did not cover. Additionally,
the prisoner was offered services for the relief of pain. Tierney v. Sakai,
#12-0000831, 2013 Haw. Lexis 36.
A prisoner failed to establish that charging him
a $2 co-payment for needed dental work violated his Eighth Amendment rights. At
the time of the treatment, he had more than $2 in his prisoner fund account. It
does not violate a prisoner's rights to charge them even a modest co-payment
for needed dental or other medical services when they have the resources to pay
it. Poole v. Isaacs, #11-2903, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 26544 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner complained that he had cavities and
bleeding gums, and sought treatment from a prison dentist. Because of
understaffing and other resource shortages at the facility, the waiting time
for dental treatment, except for the most severe emergencies was often up to
twelve months. The prisoner claimed that a dentist acted with deliberate
indifference to his dental needs. Upholding a jury verdict for the defendant
dentist, a federal appeals court held that the jury had properly been
instructed that the dentist could not be held personally liable for failing to
provide services which he could not provide because the necessary personnel,
financial, and other resources needed were not available and could not be
reasonably obtained. Peralta v. Dillard, #09-55907, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 389
A jury's award of $1,500 to a prisoner on his
claim that a delay in his dental treatment constituted deliberate indifference
to a serious medical condition was supported by substantial evidence. $1,000 of
the award was for punitive damages. The law on delaying needed dental treatment
was clearly established in 2003, so there was no right to qualified immunity.
The prisoner, despite his success, appealed, among other things, the trial
court's refusal to give him an appointed lawyer. While the case may have been
somewhat complicated, his very success in being awarded damages showed that it
was no abuse of discretion not to appoint a lawyer for him. An expert witness
was not needed to explain to the jury the pain and suffering caused by the
delay, and there were really no complex or scientific issues involved. Woods v.
Carey, #09-15548, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 13797 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A group of detainees and prisoners in a county
jail were properly certified as a class to assert claims for deliberate
indifference to their dental medical needs. Two other judges had previously
declined to certify a class action on similar claims by other groups of
plaintiffs. The principles of judicial "comity" only required the
third judge to give respectful attention to the rulings of the other judges,
but he was not precluded from ruling differently. Smentek v. Dart, #11-3261,
2012 U.S. App. Lexis 12325 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner can go forward with his claim of
inadequate dental care, assuming that he has exhausted his administrative
remedies through the grievance process, which was not clear from the record.
"A complete denial of readily available treatment for a serious medical
condition constitutes deliberate indifference." The court therefore
ordered further proceedings on the exhaustion of remedies issue. Bingham v.
Thomas, #09-10349, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 18293 (11th).
A prisoner claimed that prison dentists
acted with deliberate indifference in delaying extraction of two infected teeth
and in failing to prescribe him pain medication. A nurse was also accused of
improperly failing to provide him with pain medication. The court found that
any delay in the extractions was, at most, negligent, an inadequate basis for a
federal civil rights claim, as was the failure to prescribe pain medication,
particularly as the prisoner had been prescribed pain medications for other
ailments while also seeking dental treatment. The nurse, being unable to
herself write prescriptions, could not be found deliberately indifferent for
failing to provide him with the medication. Smith v. Harris, #10-30176, 2010
U.S. App. Lexis 23703 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that a prison dentist who
took x-rays, extracted four teeth, and provided him with an upper denture acted
with deliberate indifference to his dental needs. The evidence showed, at most,
mere disagreement with the treatment provided. The prisoner also failed to show
that the dentist discriminated against him on the basis of race. Champion v.
Murphy, #09-55651, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18084 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
In a prisoner's lawsuit claiming, in connection
with the extraction of his molar, that the dentist who pulled the tooth, the
prison dental director, the prison physician, and the warden were all negligent
and deliberately indifferent, a federal appeals court overturned the dismissal
of the complaint, as it alleged very specifically a number of "troubling
delays" in the plaintiff's treatment. McGowan v. Hulick, #09-2991, 2010
U.S. App. Lexis 14820 (7th Cir.).
A dentist began to extract a prisoner's wisdom
tooth, but "stopped short" when he saw nerve roots, and concluded
that proceeding with the procedure could damage the prisoner's jaw. The dentist
referred the prisoner to an oral surgeon, and prescribed Ibuprofen for pain.
Four days later, the prisoner claimed that his mouth was infected and that he
needed emergency treatment, but at that time the dentist was off work for a
week. Upon his return to work, he scheduled an appointment with the prisoner
for the next day. A federal appeals court ruled that the defendants were
properly granted summary judgment in an inadequate medical care lawsuit. There
was no showing that the dentist had acted with deliberate indifference and the
assertion that he should have prescribed antibiotics for the prisoner was, at
most, a claim of negligence or malpractice, which was insufficient to support a
federal civil rights claim. Claims against a nurse, a dental hygienist, and
other defendants also failed for lack of evidence of deliberate indifference.
Maddox v. Jones, #09-3523, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 7078 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A prisoner who claimed that he suffered a serious
toothache, and that a doctor and nurse had refused to refer him to a dentist
for treatment, adequately created a genuine issue of fact as to whether they
acted with deliberate indifference, subjecting him to two months of serious but
avoidable pain. He failed to show, however, that a jail administrator was
deliberately indifferent to his need for treatment. Berry v. Peterman,
#09-3557, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9195 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner argued that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his needs in that they offered him the possibility
of having his tooth extracted, but not the option of a root canal procedure.
Rejecting this claim, the court found that the prisoner received frequent dental
appointments and treatments, and was advised that the tooth in question would
cause him continuing infections and pain if not extracted. It was the inmate's
choice not to proceed with the extraction, and his difference of opinion, that
he should be given a root canal procedure, did not entitle him to that
treatment. Brathwaite v. Correctional Medical Services, #07-006, 2009 U.S.
Dist. Lexis 56031 (D. Del.).
While a prisoner claimed that a prison dentist
acted with deliberate indifference and failed to treat an abscess in his mouth,
the evidence showed that the dentist found no infection or abscess during an
examination of the prisoner's teeth and gums. The court found no evidence from
which it could conclude that the dentist should have known that the prisoner
would develop an abscess and provide treatment to prevent it. The court also
rejected a claim that the dentist had used excessive force during the
examination, or retaliated against him for filing a grievance against him.
Sands v. Cheesman, #08-15513, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15941 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
A prisoner's own description of the only symptoms
he claimed to have suffered as a result of denial of a specific dental
procedure, bonding of a tooth, amounted to a sensitivity to hot and cold and a
constant aching. These symptoms, unlike such things as a gum infection or tooth
decay, did not constitute serious medical needs as they did not pose
substantial risks to his health if untreated. The prisoner's personal
prediction that things might worsen over time was not enough to show an Eighth
Amendment violation, and the prisoner had been free to request another dental
appointment if his condition worsened. Greene v. Pollard, #08-3884, 2009 U.S.
App. Lexis 12655 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Federal court denies certification of a class
action defined as all those in the county jail who requested treatment for
dental pain and did not see a dentist within seven days. The court stated that,
depending on the seriousness of the dental impairment of the individual
detainee, the seven-day time period could have been unreasonable for a
"very obvious and serious painful dental emergency" that required
immediate treatment, while a delay of two weeks might not be unreasonable for
minor dental problems. Wrightsell v. Sheriff of Cook County, #08 CV 5451, 2009
U.S. Dist. Lexis 14521 (N.D. Ill.).
A prisoner failed to show that there was a
genuine issue concerning whether he was provided inadequate treatment for
mental health problems. He was provided with psychiatric medications within 30
days of his arrival at a county jail. His lawsuit demonstrated merely a
disagreement with the course of treatment provided, rather than deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs. The court also rejected a claim
concerning treatment provided for an erupted wisdom tooth, when a dentist who
examined the prisoner found no cause for concern. Jaquez v. Newell, #07-CV-498,
2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15964 (N.D. Ok.).
Federal appeals court overturns summary judgment
for defendant dentist in prisoner's lawsuit claiming disregard of a serious
risk of harm in allegedly merely giving prisoner ibuprofen for the pain of a
severe toothache, rather than providing a temporary filling for that tooth to
alleviate the pain, pending the performance of several other extractions which
had to be performed before a permanent filling was provided. This allegedly
resulted in a seven-month delay in treatment of the cavity at issue. Some other
prisoners had allegedly received temporary fillings in such situations.
McCarthy v. Place, No. 07-3974, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 24361 (6th Cir.).
An inmate pursuing a dental malpractice claim
under Delaware state law does not have to file an affidavit of merit from a
medical professional, as the state law requiring that in medical malpractice
specifically excluded claims against dentists from this requirement. The inmate
could therefore pursue both his dental malpractice claim and his federal civil
rights claim for alleged deliberate indifference to his serious dental needs.
Brathwaite v. Correctional Medical Services, Civ. Action No. 07-006, 2008 U.S.
Dist. Lexis 71562 (D. Del.).
A disagreement by a prisoner concerning whether
or not a tooth should be extracted was insufficient to show deliberate
indifference to his serious dental medical needs. The prisoner claimed that
dental treatment was improperly conditioned on his consenting to a tooth
extraction that he objected to. The court found that this was nothing more than
a difference of opinion concerning the appropriate dental treatment, and did
not show that the prison dentist was deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's
needs. While the prisoner was entitled to medical (specifically in this case,
dental) treatment, he was not necessarily entitled to the type of care he
preferred. The prisoner could proceed, however, on his claim that he told the
defendants that he was in severe pain because of his diseased teeth, and that
nothing was done to alleviate his pain. Anderson v. Fishback, No. CV F 05 0729,
2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 52791 (E.D. Cal.).
Correctional institution was entitled to summary
judgment on a prisoner's lawsuit for inadequate dental care when the plaintiff
failed to respond to an affidavit submitted by a dentist stating that the
dental care provided met acceptable standards. Varner v. Grafton Correctional
Institution, No. 2007-02432, 2008 Ohio Misc. Lexis 57 (Ohio Ct. of Claims).
Prisoner failed to show that prison employees
were deliberately indifferent to her serious dental needs, improperly revoked
her authorization to receive acne medication from an outside source, or failed
to protect her from an assault by another prisoner. Wilkens v. Ward, No.
07-6225, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4211 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that correctional employees
delayed providing him with the dentures he needed for eleven months, resulting
in him suffering pain and difficulty in eating and chewing food was sufficient
to present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether they were
deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need. All of his teeth had been
pulled except six bottom teeth, and he claims that the remaining teeth cut into
his top gums, interfering with his sleep and with eating. Young v. Kazmerski,
No. 07-2224, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4127 (3rd Cir.).
Prisoner's claim against sheriff, chief deputy,
and two jail employees, based on an alleged failure to take him to a dentist
when his tooth began to hurt were dismissed when the prisoner did not
personally ask them for dental care, and the lawsuit was against them only in
their official capacities. The plaintiff failed to show that the alleged denial
of dental care was caused by an unconstitutional policy. The plaintiff also
failed to show that a jail nurse acted in violation of his constitutional
rights when he agreed that she had provided some care and merely was not
"pleased" with the care provided. Tucker v. Shepard, No. Civil
3:07CV465, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9307 (S.D. Miss.).
Prisoner who claimed that he was denied needed
dental care created, in his affidavit, a genuine issue of disputed material
fact as to whether nurses knew of a serious medical need, and intentionally
refused to treat it, either by stating that they would not respond to any of
his requests for treatment or by "laughing in his face." A conflict
between the existing medical records and the prisoner's version of events was
an issue of fact for a jury to decide. Newsome v. Chatham County Detention
Center, No. 07-10838, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 27818 (11th Cir.).
Dental assistant, in allegedly failing to follow
prison procedure and repeatedly refusing to add a prisoner's name to a sick
call list, resulting in a 7-1/2 month delay in his access to a dentist for the
removal of a fragment of a tooth previously extracted could constitute
deliberate indifference. The court rejected the prisoner's claim concerning
another, chipped, tooth. The dental assistant's action in giving the prisoner a
choice between waiting for a filing or immediate extraction of the chipped
tooth was not deliberate indifference. Finley v. Parker, No. 05-56531, 2007
U.S. App. Lexis 25662 (9th Cir.).
When a prisoner was seen by a dentist on nine
separate occasions over a 13 month period, there was no showing of deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need, but instead, merely a showing that the
prisoner had a different opinion than the dentist concerning the required
treatment. The prisoner also failed to allege that he could not afford outside
treatment because of indigence. Amarir v. Hill, No. 06-16195, 2007
U.S. App. Lexis 25651 (9th Cir.).
A delay in referring a prisoner to an oral
surgeon to have three teeth extracted did not amount to deliberate indifference
to a serious medical need when the trial court found, without any clear error,
that a prison nurse lacked knowledge of a serious medical need, and that the
delay in fact resulted from the prisoner's own failure to follow the
institution's administrative procedures. The prisoner's claims amounted to, at
most, a claim of negligence, which is not sufficient for a federal civil rights
lawsuit, which requires a showing of deliberate indifference. Hartsfield v.
Colburn, No. 06-2454, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 17141 (8th Cir.).
Federal appeals court upholds summary judgment
against a prisoner who claimed that a jail's medical personnel were
deliberately indifferent to his serious dental needs, and retaliated against
him for refusing to visit the county dentist, as well as that the county had an
improper policy under which teeth were only pulled out, rather than treated.
The defendant produced medical evidence that the treatment provided or offered
was adequate, and the prisoner's bare claim that the treatment was inadequate
did not create a genuine issue of fact. The prisoner did not prove that there
had been any retaliation against him. Further, while the prisoner claimed, on
the basis of a conversation with a guard, that the county had a "pull
teeth only" policy, his transfer to another facility prior to filing his
lawsuit deprived him of standing to pursue any challenge to the alleged policy.
Meuir v. Greene County Jail Employees, No. 05-3394 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13006
A Florida prisoner's dental malpractice claim
accrued in 1999 for purposes of a two-year state statute of limitations, since
he then knew that several root canals had failed, even if he did not learn the
exact reason for the failure until later. His malpractice claim, filed in 2002,
was therefore time-barred. The prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim alleging cruel
and unusual punishment could not be pursued against a federal agency under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Secs. 2671-80, and accordingly was
properly also dismissed. Trupei v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, No. 06-15005, 2007
U.S. App. Lexis 14641 (11th Cir.)
Prisoner failed to show an unduly delay in
receiving dental treatment, and the mere fact that he might have preferred a
different course of treatment did not show deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. The prisoner's own evidence conclusively established
that he had received timely treatment, and there was no evidence that the
dentist's choices concerning that treatment were based on any motive beyond
providing routine patient care. James v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections, No.
06-2937, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9919 (3rd Cir.).
Even if all of a prisoner's complaints concerning
his medical and dental treatment were true, that merely established that there
was a difference of opinion concerning the appropriate medical treatment for
his problems, or that certain defendants were negligent, rather than a
violation of his constitutional rights. The prisoner himself agreed that the
defendants provided him with the treatment they deemed appropriate. Beauclair
v. Graves, No. 06-3265, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12149 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's lawsuit claiming deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs was improperly rejected by the trial
court when there was some evidence that the medical director of the prison knew
of his condition requiring that his teeth be removed but implemented a policy
which barred him from being fitted for dentures. Scribner v. Linthicum, No.
06-41108, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9552 (5th Cir.).
Prisoner did not show deliberate indifference to
a serious medical need simply by alleging that he and another dentist disagreed
with a prison dentist's recommendation that a tooth be extracted as
non-restorable after a failed root canal procedure. The decision not to perform
another procedure, known as an apicoectomy merely showed a medical disagreement
about the preferred treatment rather than the deliberate failure to provide
adequate care. Davis v. Collins, No. 06-3701, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9406 (3rd
Texas prisoner's claim that the failure to
provide him with recommended dentures caused him difficulty eating, headaches,
disfigurement, severe pain, and bleeding in his mouth and stool was sufficient
to assert a claim for a violation of his constitutional rights. Vasquez v.
Dretke, No. 05-41170, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5665 (5th Cir.).
Dentist's offer to modify a prisoner's existing
dental bridge, rather than to provide a replacement fixed bridge when the
existing one wiggled slightly due to a cavity on a tooth did not constitute
deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition. O'Connor v. McArdle,
No. 06-1355-cv, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 4101 (2nd Cir.).
Prison dentist who saw a prisoner on nine
occasions, and provided tooth extraction, salt rinses, and medication, did not
act with deliberate indifference. Court finds that any delays in treatment were
caused, in part, by the prisoner's own refusal to show up for five scheduled
appointments. Yoon v. Hickman, No. 05-55338, 171 Fed. Appx. 541 (9th Cir.
If, as prisoner alleged, a nurse supervisor
instructed other prison nurses not to provide him with his prescribed pain
medication following a tooth extraction because of his attempted escape effort,
this could constitute deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Cook
v. Pueppke, No. 1:05CV0105, 421 F. Supp. 2d 1201 (E.D. Mo. 2006). [N/R]
Incident in which prisoner broke two front teeth
was not a dental injury requiring emergency care, so that a delay in treatment
did not amount to deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by the
private prison-management company managing the facility. Further, the evidence
showed that he did not initially ask for emergency care, and that he did not
suffer pain which required anything more than over-the-counter medications.
Olivas v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. Civ.A.4:04-CV-511, 408 F.
Supp. 2d 251 (N.D. Tex. 2006). [N/R]
Under North Dakota law correctional officials had
statutory authority to charge a prisoner's account for the full cost of dental
services he received, including an "after hours" fee of $78 billed by
the dentist. Wheeler v. Gardner, No. 20050166, 708 N.W.2d 908 (N.D. 2006).
Despite an alleged one-month delay in obtaining
dental treatment for him, a prisoner failed to allege facts that would show that
defendant prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical
needs in not arranging for him to obtain immediate dental treatment for
gingivitis and broken teeth. Johnson v. Mullin, No. 04-7110, 2005 U.S. App.
Lexis 19285 (10th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Prisoner's lawsuit against federal prison
dentists for failure to provide him with needed treatment was properly
dismissed for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. Simmat v.
U.S. Bureau of Prisons, No. 03-3361, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 13144 (10th Cir.).
[2005 JB Aug]
Prisoner's allegations against prison dentist and
others arising out of difficulties with tooth extraction, while they may be
sufficient to show negligence, were inadequate to show deliberate indifference
as required for a federal civil rights claim. Finnegan v. Maire, No. 04-4200,
405 F.3d 694 (8th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner could not raise an issue concerning the
alleged loss of his tooth for the first time on appeal from the dismissal of
his lawsuit claiming deliberate indifference to his alleged tooth injury after
he was slapped by a guard. Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of claim for
deliberate indifference, finding that there was no evidence that the defendants
were aware that his injuries were sufficiently serious to require medical
treatment. Hill v. Vannatta, No. 03-3227, 123 Fed. Appx. 723 (7th Cir. 2005).
Pre-trial detainees who asserted that they were
forced to breathe air filled with fiberglass while in county jail adequately
stated a claim for deliberate indifference to their health or safety against
the county sheriff. Denial of toothpaste for an extended period of time could
also violate a detainee's rights because of the possible consequences of poor
dental hygiene. Board v. Farnham, No. 03-2628, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 101 (7th
Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Feb]
Dentist's failure to give a prisoner patient a
choice to use plastic tooth-colored fillings instead of metal amalgam fillings
did not constitute deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, as
required to state a claim for cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Green v. Khrisnaswamy, 328 F. Supp. 2d 417 (W.D.N.Y. 2004).
Inmate's claim that prison doctor and nurse
failed to arrange for dental care for him for six weeks after his written
request stated a possible claim for deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs. Hartsfield v. Colburn, No. 03-2602, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 11572
(8th Cir.).[2004 JB Jul]
Prisoner's claim of a "great deal" of
suffering as a result of a tooth extraction which did not "go well"
was insufficient to support a lawsuit for deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Prisoner's claim,
at most, amounted to possible negligence or medical malpractice, which is
insufficient for a constitutional claim. Majors v. Ridley-Turner, 277 F. Supp.
2d 916 (N.D. Ind. 2003). [N/R]
Even if it were assumed that oral surgeon acted
negligently in removing a piece of tissue from the plaintiff inmate's mouth
while failing to extract his impacted wisdom teeth, it would merely be medical
malpractice, which is not sufficient to state a federal civil rights claim for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Rivera v. Goord, 253 F. Supp.
2d 735 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).[N/R]
Trial court improperly granted summary judgment
on prisoner's claim for "deliberate indifference" to his serious
medical needs to a dentist who only provided him with dentures fifteen months after
first prescribing them as medically necessary, and one month after prisoner
filed suit. Farrow v. West, #01-13846, 320 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2003).
[2003 JB Jun]
Pretrial detainee stated a possible claim against
dental hygienist for deliberate indifference to his serious dental needs.
Correctional officials whose names appeared on prisoner grievance forms, and
jail superintendent, were not personally involved in any alleged deprivation of
the prisoner's rights, however, and therefore could not be liable. Manney v.
Monroe, No. 97C-7483, 151 F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ill. 2001). [N/R]
296:119 Prisoner could pursue claim against jail
captain based on allegation that he knew of the seriousness of her tooth
abscess and acted with deliberate indifference to it, but claims against the
county were abandoned when she did not dispute trial court's finding that the
county had a policy in place for making and transporting inmates to outside
medical (including dental) appointments. Cody v. Dane County, 625 N.W.2d 630
(Wis. App. 2001).
291:38 Former prisoner, who sued over delay in
treatment of cheek abscess, was not a "prisoner" required to exhaust
available administrative remedies before pursuing a federal civil rights
lawsuit. Burton v. City of Philadelphia, 121 F. Supp. 2d 810 (E.D. Pa. 2000).
289:8 Prison officials could not withhold medical
treatment from a prisoner who needed a cavity filled because the prisoner
refused to consent to the extraction of another tooth; such withholding, if
true, violated prisoner's constitutional rights. Harrison v. Barkley, No.
97-2286, 219 F.3d 132 (2nd Cir. 2000).
267:39 Inmate's assertion that prison dentists
delayed filling cavities and preferred extracting his teeth to doing so stated
a possible Eighth Amendment claim; trial court was mistaken in ruling that
delay in dental treatment could not state a federal civil rights claim. Chance
v. Armstrong, #97-2028, 143 F.3d 698 (2nd Cir. 1998).
269:72 Brief drilling of prisoner's teeth without
anesthesia did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Bout v. Bolden, 22
F.Supp.2d 646 (E.D. Mich. 1998).
» Editor's Note: In a related decision in
the same case, the trial court found that the plaintiff prisoner submitted
fraudulent documents to the court--four memos purportedly authored by a prison
official, but which had forged signatures. The court ordered various sanctions
against the plaintiff, including the payment of the fees of an expert witness
who showed the signatures to be forged and payment of the defendants' attorneys
fees and expenses incurred as a result of the "plaintiff's fraudulent
acts." Bout v. Bolden, 22 F.Supp.2d 653 (E.D. Mich. 1998).
» Editor's Note: Other cases finding that
lack of proper dental treatment may state an Eighth Amendment claim are: Fields
v. Gander, 734 F.2d 1313 (8th Cir. 1984) ("severe pain" due to
infected tooth); Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966 (8th Cir. 1995) (three-week delay in
dental treatment aggravated problem); and Hunt v. Dental Dept., 865 F.2d 198
(9th Cir. 1989) (plaintiff complained that he was unable to eat properly). See
also Dean v. Coughlin, 623 F.Supp. 392 (S.D.N.Y. 1985) ("dental needs--for
fillings, crowns, and the like--are serious medical needs"), vacated on
other grounds, 804 F.2d 207 (2d Cir. 1986).
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